(NECN: Marnie MacLean) - A district attorney in central Maine is considering filing charges after a day care worker found a gun in the bag of a 4-year-old boy at the Rollins Family Child Care Center in Hallowell.
The worker was looking for clothes in the bag used by the boy's divorced parents to transfer his belongings from house to house. She found a semi-automatic handgun that was fully loaded.
Hallowell Police Chief Eric Nason says the day care took immediate action. Workers got the gun out of the house and called police.
Police confiscated the weapon and learned it belonged to the 4-year-old child's father.
The father has refused to talk to police and they aren't sure yet how the gun got into the child's bag.
The case has been referred to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Kennebec County District Attorney.
Kennebec County DA Maeghan Maloney says two charges could apply in this case, with the first being unlawful transfer of a handgun to a minor. The other is endangering the welfare of a child.
Maloney says she will wait to get the report from DHHS before deciding whether to file any charges.
Chief Nason doesn't believe the boy knew the gun was in in his bag, but they don't have all the answers yet. He does know they got lucky, because a child could have easily found that gun first.
"I think gun owners need to be responsible, like parents are supposed to be responsible, they need to have accountability for their guns," Chief Nason said.
The district attorney says a decision on whether to file charges will likely be made by the end of the month.